[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article is another from our youngest-ever Contributor – 11-year old Isabel Herbruger – who has been submitting stories and photos as part of her effort to earn a Girl Scout badge for journalism, as well as qualify for a 4H photography project. Isabel also happened to be on scene taking photos when Evergreen football player Kenny Bui suffered a tragic, fatal injury at a football game in Burien on Oct. 2.] Photos and Story by Isabel Herbruger, age 11 On Monday night (Nov. 16), Highline Public Schools held a ‘Safety in Sports’ Forum at the Performing Arts Center in Burien. The panel included Dr. Stanley A. Herring from the UW, John Miller from the WIAA, Superintendent Susan Enfield, and district Athletic Director Terri McMahan. There was a lot of good information and suggestions on how we can start making changes now. “If you have seen one concussion….you have seen one concussion” Dr. Herring said that every concussion is different. Symptoms can be headaches, confusion, slow reaction, or dizziness. There can also be stomach aches, emotional  or behavioral changes. Any change to how you are normally means you should stop playing and get checked. A concussion is microscopic damage to the brain; your brain starts to run in safe mode until it can repair itself. This can be a few days or up to a few months. A second impact can cause uncontrolled brain swelling and bleeding. This is why it is important to stop playing after the first one and wait until you are fully recovered before playing again. There is more to treating a concussion than taking it easy for a few days. First your mental ability needs to be healthy (no headaches, feeling slow, etc) then you need to work on your physical ability to come back.  Ask your doctor if they know how to treat concussions then work with them and the school trainer. “Not all school districts have a certified trainer at their sporting events”  Mrs. McMahan talked about Highline being a leader with certified trainers at every football game, and most of the other sporting events. There is also security at the events who can call for ‘immediate dispatch’ which means the medics come faster than a call to 911. It was suggested a law be made requiring every district have a certified trainer at sporting events. The WIAA can set guidelines, but it would be better if the state legislature made it a law. “Helmets prevent skull fractures, not concussions” Mr. Miller spoke about the training on how to tackle and block safely. Soon they will have it for running backs (the ball carriers) too. Equipment is checked for safety every year. All middle school and high school coaches in Highline are trained in concussions as well as safe ways to tackle. Even the pee-wee leagues in our area have this training. The biggest problem is getting players to admit they have been hurt and do not feel good. Players should feel it is a badge of honor to miss a game because they played tough and smart but got hurt. It is not a punishment. Coaches want players healthy and playing at 100%; safety is priority. “Hey, why did you do that!” In the old days no one wore seatbelts. Over time families changed their habits and now everyone wears them. The same thing needs to happen with safety on the sports field. Instead of cheering the “big hit” with high fives, fans, coaches, and players need to be getting upset over dangerous plays. If a parent sees a dangerous play they should go talk to the school Athletic Director to share their concern. The A.D. can forward the concern to the WOAA (officials) and WIAA (athletes and coaches) to make rule changes or take care of referees not keeping kids safe on the field.  The culture of contact sports has to change, safety needs to come first. You can play tough, but that does not make your brain tough. Here are photos from the event (click images to see larger versions/slideshow): title Dr.-Herring end Miller-and-McMahan the-panel]]>